MINISTRY of Transportation in a bid to look into alleged improper placement at the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) has written to the agency’s commissioner requesting nominal roll of the Human Resource Department brief for Mr. Benjamin Okewu and two others including photocopies of their qualifications and letters of appointment.In a letter T4558/S.6/T/36 written to the Commissioner of the AIB, Dr. Felix Abali tagged Re: Serious Interaction in AIB- Need for Urgent Attention, the Ministry asked the commissioner to forward letters of First Appointments and Promotions as well as Academic qualifications of Mr. Okewu and two Chief Administrative Officers Grade Level 14 (GL14).
This may not be unconnected to the recent disenchantment in the AIB leading to petitions from the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) that have also led to in-fighting within the agency distracting it from its primary objectives Investigation and proviso of safety recommendations.
The letter signed by one S.U.D. Maigana, Director (Human Resource Management) for the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi read in part:
“I am directed to refer to your letter Ref. No. AIB/COMM/002/16/VOL dated 22nd August on the above subject and to request you to forward Nominal Roll of the Human Resource Department, Briefs of Mr. Okewu and two (2) Chief Administrative Officers GL14, including photocopies of Academic Qualifications, letters of First Appointment and Letter of Promotion.”
The letter requested a response not later than two weeks to enable the Ministry of Transport take appropriate action on the matter.
Recall that since August, NAAPE has engaged the AIB management in a bid to get them to reverse the Air Transport Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) National President, Benjamin Okewu’s alleged undeserved promotion against after being seconded to AIB from the Nigeria College of Aviation Technology (NCAT).
In a letter signed by the General Secretary of NAAPE, Ocheme Aba with Ref: NS/GS/00473/2016 addressed to the Minister and copied to the Hon. Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, the Permanent Secretary, Fed. Ministry of Transportation and the Branch Chairman/Secretary, AIB the group called for action.
NAAPE had queried Okewu’s secondment and whether it followed any due process asking:
”Did AIB declare any vacancy in their HR Department? Did AIB fill such vacancy, if declared, in the manner prescribed by the Public Service Rule (PSR)? Did AIB carry out the promotion of Benjamin Okewu in compliance with the PSR? Did he write any promotion examination, for example? Is the Commissioner competent to single-handedly carry out such a promotion?”
“Can a public servant who is seconded for a particular competency be laterally, and unilaterally, moved into another area of competence? What about the person’s competence in the new area? How does CONTENDIS apply to non academic staff? Or is Benjamin Okewu an academic staff of NCAT? Where does the two years period for the secondment stand in the present circumstance? Is it jettisoned? Considering the admonition of the Federal Ministry of Transportation that the PSR guiding secondment must be adhered to strictly in this particular case, can anyone convince anyone that the directive had been complied with?”
Already things have gone downhill communication wise in the agency as NAAPE staff had accused the AIB commissioner of assault over this issue and the commissioner had recently shunned a meeting meant to find out the facts of the matter, causing the Ministry of Labour and Productivity to postpone.